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Deep Pickups 9/10: Hitters

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Jake Marisnick - OF, HOU

Owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues

When it comes to fantasy appeal, Marisnick has one thing going against him, and it's a big one: He doesn't play a ton. Or at least, he hasn't. The outfielder has been on the Astros roster all season but has accrued only 318 plate appearances.

He does have a few key things working in his favor, however. Marisnick has an exciting skill set that features speed and power; despite his limited playing time, he has ripped nine homers and stolen 18 bases this year. He has also been quite hot lately, with a 957 OPS in his past 20 games.

Those factors, combined, could help alleviate the aforementioned issue. With Marisnick playing well and the Astros gearing up for their first postseason run in a decade, the athletic 24-year-old could see a healthy boost in usage here in the final weeks.

There's certainly plenty to like about his long-term upside. Marisnick has appeared on national top prospect lists frequently, and was a key piece in two majors trades, first getting shipped from Toronto to Miami in the Jose Reyes blockbuster, then heading from Miami to Houston last year at the deadline.

In six minor-league seasons, he has a 789 OPS with 122 steals (only 32 CS) and 48 home runs. He hasn't had a ton of success in the big leagues up to this point but he is enjoying his best season right now and has really turned it on recently.

But of course, the question remains: Will he play? The addition of Carlos Gomez took away Marisnick's opportunity in center, his best position. Now he must compete with George Springer, Preston Tucker and Marwin Gonzalez for time in the corners. You can argue that Marisnick is the most effective of the bunch, especially with the way he has played in recent weeks, but he still hasn't really broken through as a regular in left or right.

Even when he's not starting, Marisnick still sees frequent action as a pinch-hitter and runner, so he can still offer value. Hopefully he can keep his bat cooking and start finding his way into the starting lineup more often down the stretch.

Phil Gosselin - 2B/3B, ARI

Owned in 0% of Yahoo leagues

Gosselin spent the first month of this season operating as a utility infielder for the Braves, and he performed quite well in that role, spending time at second and third while batting .325 in 40 at-bats. In mid-May, he went down with a sprained left thumb, which ended up requiring surgery. While rehabbing in June, he found himself traded to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Bronson Arroyo.

Gosselin's long road back from surgery reached an end on August 31st, when he returned to the field, albeit in a new uniform. Since reentering the fold, the 26-year-old has picked up where he left off, filling in around the diamond while providing a surprisingly strong offensive boost.

Since being activated from the disabled list, Gosselin has actually played quite steadily, starting seven of Arizona's 10 games and making late-game appearances in the other three. Aside from offering defensive versatility, he has delivered plenty of production, hitting .250/.364/.536 with two homers and eight RBI. He has drawn four walks against three strikeouts.

That's a little more than we're expecting to see from Gosselin long-term, especially in the power department, but he's been a decent hitter in the minors who got better as he climbed the ladder (he batted .317 with a 786 OPS in 159 games at Triple-A), so in general his strong output doesn't seem totally unsustainable.

With the Diamondbacks evidently souring on Chris Owings at second (he has started only three games there since the end of August), Gosselin ought to be a lineup fixture here in September, especially since he can shift over to third and has even spent some time in left.

Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to NBC Sports Edge's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.